We all know there are six elements of fiction. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is plot. What's your take on this? For my books, I usually start out with a vague idea of a plot and then come back to the characters—who they are, what do they look like, fleshing out the drama to the story—then I begin working on the setting and start developing the full plot line as I begin writing.
1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method? I combine what I know from experience with my imagination and come up with the inspiration for my characters. I’m a people watcher and have a good sense of the different personality traits. This has helped me when creating my characters. I usually sketch out a bit more completely my characters’ descriptions etc. than the plot line.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? For me an interesting plot is key, but my characters are a bit more important to me. I love “getting to know” my characters and letting them speak to me as they tell their story.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one? I usually brainstorm and do a basic plot line for each book. However, as the story starts moving along, there are times when I deviate from that plan because that’s where the inspiration is taking me.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around? It depends. For some of my books, the settings were local to where I live. Two of my other books took place in different locations. One took place in Europe and I needed to do research to make sure I had everything correct. The other took place in Hawaii and my husband and I went there on our honeymoon so I got first-hand experience with that location.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books? I do some of my research from books and some online. When I first began writing, the age of the Internet was only beginning so I visited the library and also had a good collection of research books on hand. Once I progressed further in my career, I started using the Internet more for research.
6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end? I write the first draft without editing. If I started editing right away, I think I’d get discouraged and never finish a book. Once the first draft is completed, I leave it alone for a bit and then come back with fresh eyes for the first round of edits. The plot line is vaguely sketched out, but the characters lead me the rest of the way.